Best Above Ground Pool (In-Depth Buying Guide)

There are a lot of ways to enjoy a hot summer day. My favorite activity is hanging out at the beach.

Unfortunately, great beaches are situated outside the city and long drives are a requirement.

Long drives aren’t always convenient especially if you have a full-time job. Above ground pools to the rescue!

This makes me think a lot of people relate to how I’m feeling or above ground pools wouldn't be so popular.

It’s a good thing that people are very inventive and mass produce the holy grail of joy they created.

Since summer is just around the corner, it’s only fair to talk about what the best above ground pools for your backyard are. To give you a heads up on the best leading products you can buy, I compiled some, including the most interesting ones in this in-depth above ground pool review.


Top 3 Models to Consider

This above ground pool lets you know that your options are not limited to durable metal frame pool sets.

The Intex Ultra Frame Pool has a reinforced, laminated PVC sidewalls paired with a support band that surrounds the entire pool.

This exceptional feature keeps the users safer and more secure as it keeps the it properly supported.

What’s exciting with this one we reviewed is that you have the option to add a saltwater system. Personally, I think this should not be an option but a necessity. To have an above ground pool with saltwater system that doesn’t use harmful chemicals to keep the water extra clean? Yes, please.

Additionally, it’s a better cleaning method than the one that uses chlorine. This is undoubtedly the top above ground pool in this buying guide.

This large above ground pool is made of great materials and is guaranteed to last for a number of years. Its water capacity is up to 6,981 gallons.

  • Saltwater system is a better alternative because salt can be easily found and cheap.
  • Walls are extra strong.
  • Despite the large size, set up is very easy.
  • A highly even area is required for the installation process.
  • The set does not include a vacuum cleaner or skimmer.

If you want one of the best pools but on a budget, this is your choice.

The Intex Easy Set Pool has the size and qualities of a winner. It can hold up to 5455 gallons of water.

This is already more than what in-ground pools can carry. You don't have to worry about its durability because its sidewalls are made of laminated PVC. This makes it extra strong and sturdy enough to support the activities happening inside the pool.

This set includes filter pump, ground cloth, ladder, and debris cover. The ground cloth and debris cover help to keep it free from any ground debris. Its filter pump is a Krystal Clear Cartridge Filter pump and this is known good circulation the water inside. Good water circulation means clean and clear all the time. In addition, it's is available in different sizes.

What makes this one stand out from the rest is that it features a Ground Fault Interrupter. I think this is the icing on the cake because it automatically turns off the pump whenever an electrical current is exposed to the water. In every situation, it is important to always be safe.

  • The pool pump is not just highly durable, but also very easy to clean.
  • The cover and ground cloth are washable.
  • Its drain plug is very convenient.
  • It can’t be installed on a sandy or muddy space.
  • You need a large space to set it up.

For an even sturdier above ground pool, opt for the option that has a galvanized steel frame such as this one.

This makes the above ground pool a lot more capable of many swimmers at once.

Just like any other above ground pools from Intex, its walls are also made of laminated PVC and can actually hold a lot more water, 6423 gallons to be exact and is 48 inches deep.

This pool is a show stopper because of its large size, high quality and its exceptional durability because of its galvanized steel frames.

The Intex Metal Frame Pool also comes with a Krystal Clear Cartridge which takes care of the water quality inside the above ground pool and a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter which directly shuts off the pump when it detects that the electric wires are wet.

The dual suction outlet fittings are also very notable because it ensures a good circulation of the pool’s water, giving the users a clean and safe water to swim around.

  • Pets can freely swim because the sidewalls are highly heavy-duty.
  • This has the tendency to withstand the cold weather.
  • The drainage plug can be connected to a hose.
  • The pool is slightly too large for the filter pump, which may affect the pump’s strength.
  • The pump isn't very durable.

Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set: For The Bigger Bunch

f you’ve had enough with the circular above ground pond, here’s a rectangular one.

The Intex Ultra XTR Rectangular Pool Set is perfect for lap swimming and easy to assemble.

If you’re highly active and into sports like me, I suggest getting the deluxe option as it comes with a volleyball set, along with maintenance kit and other accessories.

A noteworthy feature of this pool is that it has a very sturdy design and can hold up to 8,500 gallons of water.

Despite its size and the people capacity, this above ground pool is guaranteed to last numerous summer seasons because it is made of durable materials and has a strong pool wall, which makes it a runner up on being the best above ground pool.

Playing games and exercising are definitely not a concern with this pool.

  • The sand filter is easy to maintain.
  • The pool stands strong even with a number of swimmers inside it.
  • Everything you need can be found in the set.
  • The ladder can be a shaky.
  • The instructions are not specific or detailed.

Ipool Deluxe Above Ground Exercise Swimming Pool With Filter Pump And Heater Upgrade: The Cold Will Not Bother This

If you’re a health-conscious and want to squeeze in any physical activity during the day, then this above ground pool might be your go-to.

I must say, this pool is one of the best above ground swimming pools for exercising because of the way it is designed.

  • Its compact size made it easy to place anywhere.
  • The pool heater is really useful.
  • The harness is reliable and strong enough to hold a number of users.
  • The heater might be a little difficult to install.
  • The heater may fail sometimes.

Heritage TA 301552GP-DXP Taos Complete Above Ground Pool: Stands Strong All Year

We’ve gone past examples of some circular and rectangular shapes of above ground baths, now let’s talk about this oval-shaped Heritage pool.

Since it is has a large size, you might need manpower to set it up.

At least 2 or 3 persons should be able to help you put it up to be able to get a nicely done oval pool. Also, once you set it up completely, its sturdy frame might hinder you from moving it easily, so you might want to winterize it during winter season.

This large model boasts its amazing structure which is made of very robust material. This specification makes you consider it as a tough contender on being the best above ground pool.

It has a vinyl interior liner which makes it an above ground pool of durability and toughness. It has a firm galvanized structure so it’s not a no-brainer if this pool will last a long time because it definitely will. Included items are sand filter, pump motor, and a ladder.

  • The steel frame can endure the cold season.
  • The pool is very solid.
  • The sand filter works very well for the size of the pool.
  • The ladder can be unstable.
  • Some found it hard to install due to its size.

Splash Pools Round Deluxe Pool Package: For An Easy-Breezy Installation

This round above ground pool is made of a durable vinyl pool liner and a very strong support beams of steel. Heavy-duty steel ledges can be found around the pool’s edges.

It comes with a variety of sizes which are all equally perfect for friends and family and require no second thoughts.

This pool is excellent both for above ground pool parties and lap swimming, if you’re physically active. This deluxe pool package includes all the necessary items like a ladder, pump motor, and a skimmer.

I think one of the important thing to consider when setting up an above ground pool without professional supervision is that the instructions should be detailed and explained well. This popular pool did not fail on that matter.

It possesses a step-by-step video that will really make the installation process a breeze. A lot of customers can actually attest to that. Moreover, the package includes everything you need to finish setting up the entire pool.

To be considered as a top-rated above ground pool, I also look at its elegance. So, if you’re like me and a pool’s style also matters to you, this product does not hold back. It looks very eye-catching as it has a tan exterior paired with a blue vinyl interior.

  • It is compatible with many pool vacuums and skimmers.
  • The ladder can be removed easily and is replaceable.
  • Winterizing it can be done without draining all the water.
  • Steel beams may rust.
  • The pool may be uncomfortable to use without proper ground work.

Wilbar Meadows 24-Feet-By-52-Inch Round Above Ground Swimming Pool: Worth The Price

The last thing on my list is the Wilbar Meadows Round Above Ground Pool.

This round above ground pool stands on its touch galvanized walls made of steel.

This above ground pool’s frame consists of a resin coating to serve protection. Its structure is strong enough to endure heavy weights, soil corrosion, and other issues.

This also makes the frame rust- free. This above ground pool features a corrosion-free foundation system that withstands any weather conditions. To top it all off it's very easy to install. A highlight on the pool’s package is a Widemouth Skimmer.

This above ground pool may be your next one because of its remarkable pool liner design. A bead receiver is not necessary because the pool has interlocking stabilizer rails that is designed to overlap the top liner and made stationary with coping.

  • The pool has strong steel walls.
  • The resin-coated frame really helps.
  • Its height is 52 inches.
  • The edges of the pool may rust eventually.
  • Not easy to set up.
  • Instructions hard to understand.

Points To Consider When Buying An Above Ground Pool

To make sure the greatest above ground pools land on your backyard, there are a few factors you need to review first.

Points To Consider When Buying A Swimming Pool

Best Time To Purchase An Above Ground Pool

Just like any equipment or appliance sold in the market, pool prices are not always the same throughout the year. You can score the cheapest deals starting from October until the winter season. Prices go up as late spring and summer approaches again.

If I were you, I’d start looking for the best pools and keep an eye on it until winter arrives. So, when winter comes, I would come back for it and purchase it right away. Just make sure you have a big enough space to store it for the meantime. Although, if you encounter any pool problems, you can’t usually send it back after 30-60 days.

What The Pool Is Made Of

Of course, you need to know your money’s worth. Looking at the pool’s quality should also be your priority. Your above ground pools should be in for the long run, so make sure they're made of strong and durable material.

It’s not worth the purchase if you constantly need to fix it and patch some holes on the above ground pool, replace leaky pieces from time to time, and splurge on new parts every now and then. You might be spending time repairing it more than actually enjoying it.

Type Of Pool To Get

It is important to know that there are various types of above-ground pools and above ground pool accessories. The common ones are the easy set and steel frame above ground pools. Easy set above ground pools use a soft vinyl or PVC for its walls.

It also has an inflatable ring that lifts up the pool walls whenever you fill it with water. On the other hand, metal frame above ground pools are sturdier. This kind of pool has steel bars to support the vinyl or PVC pool liner. It can also hold more water for different pool shapes.

Pool Shape For You

The basic and usual shapes are circle, oval, rectangle, and square. One of the factors to think about when choosing the shape is its purpose.

A rectangular above ground pool is your best option if you want to exercise by swimming because it’s best for lap swimming.

On the other hand, if you only plan to use it for pure entertainment and recreation, any shape is perfect. Your only concern left is the space you have for it to be installed.

Area To Set Up Your Pool

Along with the type and shape of your potential above ground pool, the area to place it is important to plan out ahead.

The perfect place to install it is on a flat and even area.

Then, measure it to get an outlook on the maximum pool size that can be placed your space, and what shape will fit it best.

Pool Brands To Pick

"Who makes the best above ground pool?" - You can find above ground pools from well-known manufacturers, such as Intex or Bestway (Intex being the best and most well-known brand).

Large establishments tend to handle any problems a customer might face, and they are trusted brands for that.

It’s also convenient to get spare parts coming from large manufacturers according to consumer reports review.

How Big It Needs To Be

The easiest way to solve this dilemma is to think of the number of people who’ll use the above ground pools altogether.

Think about how big your household is and how often you hold good quality parties in your house.

Easy Installation

Nothing is worse than buying an above ground pool only to realize you can’t set it by yourself. Before completely sealing the deal, you need to know if it can be installed easily (think of the wall).

Because when manpower is not readily available, you’ll be stuck with installing it by yourself, which is not ideal. In many cases the above ground pools offer includes an instructional DVD.

Pool’s Safety

This is a necessary point to ensure especially if children are always present. The best pool for a house that has children is the one that is a safe choice for them. Before ordering one, check what ages are appropriate when using it.

This will tell you if its design is safe for children and how high its water level is. A lot of baths are safely appropriate for children of ages 4 years and older, while taller above ground pools might be safe only to kids starting from 6 years old and above.

You should also make sure to use pool lights if you want to use it at night.

What Comes With It

Once you spot a great price, check what comes with it. You might only be getting the cool pool itself which won’t be a convenient option.

Having an above ground pool set is better because this way, you can use it as soon as it arrives. You can find essentials like a filter pump, and a pool ladder in a pool set for families.

Benefits Of An Above Ground Pool

A pool is not just all about ready pleasure, they are more than just that. With your own one in your backyard, you’ll get to experience these benefits you can read about below, too.

Benefits Of Swimming

A Cheaper Alternative

Installing above ground pools is a cheaper choice than the inground pools. In ground pools cost more than a thousand dollars, while above ground pools can be built for a far cheaper price.

In some cases, you can have it set up for just under a thousand dollars (most families have that kind of money, right?).

Obviously, it won’t last as long as the other mentioned option, but it can be easily replaced. Even after buying a couple more above ground pools over the years, it still won’t cost you as much the alternatives will.

Quicker Setup

The moment it arrives on your doorstep, quick installment follows. You can start installing the systems minutes, not hours, after opening the boxes. The longest time to set up a pool is only two days, even with the largest one.

Portability And Storage

The best thing about these above ground pools is that you get to move it around your area if you don’t like its original position.

Moreover, if you find it tiring to winterize your above ground pool, you can simply drain and move it to a place safe enough for it to be stored during the cold months until the weather’s perfect to use it again.

Health Benefits

You can even get a number of health benefits from taking baths. People with pain and joint problems can get water therapy with or without trainers. This can also be beneficial for people facing mobility problems.

People who suffer from arthritis and paralysis, even just an injury, can also use shallow above ground pools as a medium to retrain and strengthen muscles. Children with autism can also benefit from swimming, especially if animals are present.

Who knew having your own above ground pools in your backyard could give you so much control over your health?

Disadvantages Of An Above Ground Pool

Disadvantages of bathing too often

It is impossible for an equipment to exist without its disadvantages, so let’s tackle each of the disadvantages.

It does not look as nice as an in-ground pool

This is an obvious one. Generally, when people say they’re having an above ground pool, people’s instant reaction and thought will probably say that it’s cheap and unattractive.

Even the pool you think is the best for your backyard won’t look as decent as an in-ground one. This might be an unfair judgement and one-sided. One sneak peek of at the top of an above ground pool will tell you otherwise.

However, when you compare average above ground pools to that of an average in-ground pool, you’d probably think the latter looks nicer.

Does not add much to your property

They don’t really add value to your property since it’s not considered as a permanent installation.

The fact is, having a permanent in ground pool on the premises could actually lower your property value and limit potential buyers when it comes time to sell your home.

Because it’s relatively easy to remove, it’s not necessarily a hindrance.

Options and features are limited

They are not readily customizable. The only change you can add are above ground pools steps and other designs to it. If you desire a swimming pool with a diving board, and uncommon pool shape, or other non conventional add-on, you might want to save it as a wishful thinking.

It also lacks heating, so if you want to be able to use it when it's cold outside, you're much better off getting a portable spa instead. Even though limitations are present in an above ground pool, you can still enjoy it nonetheless.

It does not last long

Contrary to a well-built in-ground pool, above ground pools don’t last a long time. Since this kind of pool is made of relatively cheaper materials, and is more exposed to some elements, do not expect this to last forever.

On the flipside, if you realize that one does not work for you or you simply want to upgrade to one of the more advanced pools, you can easily get rid of it pronto. You don’t have this option with an in-ground version.

Fencing might be required

You might consider putting a barricade on your above ground swimming pool if you want your kids or pets to stay safe and secure. Leaving this pool full of water unattended is majorly discouraged.

Unfortunately, some above ground pools do not include fences. This might add to your installment cost.

Tips for Using Above Ground Pools

Above ground swimming pools might not be as packed as an in-ground pool, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

Use it for pool exercises. If you have a larger rectangular pool, it is known to be best for lap swimming. However, other types of above ground pools can be used for any exercise like doing resistance training in the water.

Upgrade family time with the kids by incorporating an inflatable pool float inside the pool. Children will definitely love this idea. They are also shallow enough so kids can safely play fun water games. This is a great relief to parents because you don’t have to worry about its depth and you can enjoy the water as much as your kids.

Usually, people who own them create a small wooden deck around the above ground pool. The usual setup is a wooden deck built around a part of the pool with stairs leading up to the pool. A lot of ideas on how to do the decking around it can be found on the internet.

This serves a dual purpose because it makes getting in and out of the water easier, at the same time, giving the swimmers a lounging area where they can chill during break time or when they decide to pause to munch on some snacks.

Taking Care Of Your Pool

Just like any other area or equipment around your house, pools need to be cleaned from time to time. Maintaining a clean and safe pool environment is a necessity to every pool owners.

First, we need to know a few information about water circulation. So, what is it exactly? Every one of the highest-rated above ground pools has a circulation system which included the swimming pool pump, pool filter, skimmers, drains, and returns. What this system do is it makes sure that the water inside your pool is flowing, while making sure that the added chemicals are properly and evenly scattered throughout the powder coated pool. Each component of the pool circulation system do this so you could enjoy a healthy and harmless water all the time.

Now, let’s get to it specifically. How is this done? Water that goes through the pool skimmers moves out the skimmer basket. This is where debris like leaves are removed. The water then proceeds through a filter, which thoroughly screens out the contaminants that were not removes previously by the skimmer basket. Filters act as the sanitizing system of the pool. The usual pool sanitizer used is chlorine which can be in a form of a tablet, granule, or stick. A stabilized chlorine is also recommended. This makes the chemicals last longer and protects the swimmers from the sun’s harmful rays.

After it goes through the filter system, the water is treated by the pool pump. Some pool pumps even heat the water. Ultimately, this results in clean and uncontaminated pool water.

Although the pool filtration system takes care of the contaminants and everything else that floats on the top of the water inside your pool, let’s not forget that it’s not the only reason why pool water gets unsanitary and dirty. If you are worried about the slimy build-up or any other unclean stuff on the sides and bottom of the pool, an automatic pool cleaner is readily available on the market.

In addition to your pool’s maintenance, using a vacuum will greatly keep your pool in tip-top shape. Vacuums keep your walls and floor squeaky clean. It captures dirt which hugely prevents algae from growing. The best thing about having a vacuum for your above ground pools is that it gets to areas that have little to no circulation. This might be a breeding ground for bacteria, so this area is very crucial to clean. It should not be left disregarded.

There will come a time when your automatic cleaners will give up on you. Worst case scenario, this happens unexpectedly. In times like this, it’s important to have a trusted brush sitting on your storage area. Use a brush to clean pool walls, and the floor. For best results, it is recommended to clean pool walls and floor weekly. Brushes help keep your pools bacteria- and contaminant-free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

If buying above ground pools is still a quest for you, here are a few questions that are commonly asked by both users and potential owners still looking for the best offer.

Can they be shipped to my location?

If you buy from Amazon, they deliver all over the US.

What is the best way to fill a pool?

They can be filled by either a water source like garden hose or have gallons of water be delivered for a quick filling of the pool.

Is there warranty available?

Some brand new pools have 1 year warranty. However, to be totally sure, check with the manufacturer first before buying it.

How do you maintain them?

Each pool demands maintenance differently. Although, the basic maintenance is simple. It only needs to be vacuumed weekly, skimmed to remove debris, and have the water filtered to keep its water clean at all times. Saltwater or chlorine can be used, depending on the chemical method you’re following [R].

How deep are these pools?

The maximum height of above ground pools is only 54 inches or about 4.5 feet because the walls are submitted to high pressure. Accordingly, the maximum pool depth can only be 52 inches or 4.3 feet, such as with the 52in ultra frame rectangular pools.

How do I drain an above ground pool?

Most of the best above ground options have outlets on them which can be easily opened and let the water flow out freely. You can choose the easiest way which is to use an electric pump, or if you’re feeling physical, siphon out the water using hosepipes.

To successfully siphon the water out, submerge one part of the pipe into the water. Then, suck on the other end of the pipe so you’ll lead the water out. Be careful not to swallow any water, though. Obviously, this task will be finished faster if you use more hoses into the pool [R].

Is a fence necessary?

This generally depends on the type of your pool, and also, on some factors. Fences serve safety and security purposes. This won’t be a debate especially if children or pets can have easy access to it. In this case, I’d rather be safe than sorry [R].


In conclusion, one of the most excellent ground pools on this list is the Intex Ultra Frame Pool Set With Filter Pump and Saltwater System. This Intex model is very generous when it comes to its size, so you don’t have to limit who comes in your pool. In addition, its durability and strength is never a concern because it is supported by laminated PVC walls.

Not to mention its exceptional saltwater system that keeps your water from the harsh chemicals which makes every swimming session a clean and safe activity. You get a great bang for your buck since it’s made to last a relatively long time.


A lot of people might prefer an in-ground one more than the above ground variant. But, if you think about it, having your own above ground pool would highly benefit you, especially if your number one concern is the cost to install it this would be the best choice. This makes having your first one a home improvement to watch out for.

Choosing the best above ground pools for you might be a difficult decision to make. However, it would help if you carefully consider each of the factors that could affect your future purchase. If you have a generous backyard, it’s only fair to choose a one that is a great match to your backyard, but without breaking the bank.

Once you’ve set your eyes on the pools that you think are the best above-ground one to ever exist, never hesitate to pursue it because there is nothing more rewarding than chilling in your own backyard after a hard day’s work.

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